I got on my first flight ever when I was 22. My second flight was a few weeks thereafter. It was most memorable – and might have been my last.

I got up early to catch the flight, an early morning one, leaving Harare at 6:30 am for Johannesburg.

Oddly, that day the flight was delayed.

We were soon to find out that the reason for the delay was due to a fault with an instrument called the flight director, which ordinarily gives pilots a sense of navigation of where he or she is going.

Fortunately, the engineers managed to fix the problem and off we were on way to Johannesburg!

About half an hour into the flight, a passenger sitting next to me remarked that we seemed to be losing altitude and turning back. I had not noticed, and frankly wasn’t concerned.  I was lost in blissful ignorance.

I did not think much of it until I heard the Captain’s calm and assured voice issued through the public address system: “Ladies and Gentlemen, you might have noticed that we have dropped altitude and turned the airplane back towards Harare International Airport. Unfortunately, the problem that we encountered in Harare has recurred. Under these conditions, and without navigation, it is possible for the pilot to fly without knowing where he is going. As such, we have had to lower our altitude so we can use ground features to navigate back to Harare.

There is no need for you worry, because I am very familiar with the territory and I will land us in Harare.’

It was at that moment, that I realized we were in trouble. You can imagine the relief when we landed at Harare International Airport.

Navigation INSTRUMENTS …. are very important for pilots. Without them they cant tell where they are going or coming from.

So it is, with the barometer that we are launching today

As such I am delighted that the Government of Rwanda through the Rwanda Governance Board, and UNDP launched a Barometer to informed the development of the media space.

It is my pleasure to join you, Usta, in launching the 4th edition of the Rwanda Media Barometer.

I understand that this year’s Barometer tracked five traditional matrices:

1-     Legal and Policy Framework

2-    Media plurality and diversity

3-    Media as a platform for strengthening Governance and Democracy

4-    Media Development and Professional Capacity

5-    Access to Information and information sharing

I also understand that there have been significant changes in the performance of each of parameters.

·      The first, Legal and Policy Framework has scored highly, at 91%. Congratulations to the Government.

·      Second, Media plurality and diversity has performed well at 87% ….

·      Third, Media as a platform for strengthening governance and democracy, the score is 85%

·      We have some work to do on the fourth, Media development and enhancing capacity. This metric scored much lower at 62%.

·      The same with fifth, Access to information and information sharing, where the score was lower, at 78%

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

Subsequent speakers will review comparative analysis amd tell us how these results compare with previous years.

For now, please allow me to reflect on media development and professional capacity which scored the lowest. The report shows that Media profitability is still very low (21.3%). This is of concern to all of us, and we wish to work with the Media industry to take advantage of legal and policy framework which scored very high (91%) and the impact of ICT on media profitability (93.9%) to improve their business environment.  

While on same, I should point out that inclusion of persons with disability continues to be a concern. We would like to work with the media to uphold the are rights of persons with disabilities, as well as to shine the light on their plight.

Clearly, we still have some work to do. At UNDP, together with our partners at Swiss Development Cooperation, we stand ready to work with you to strengthen the media space in Rwanda. This barometer is an excellent indicator of where we are and where we need to be.

My flight on that day was frightening but it has not diminished my desire for flying.

I know that aircraft industry learns from its mistakes.

And I hope too that the media industry and government will use what we have learnt from this year’s barometer to fine tune our own journey, and to do better as we move forward.

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